Apologies for the large image up there, but cutting it down would've eliminated some of the telling details behind the newest shocker from Netflix: it's eliminating the Netflix branding almost entirely from its DVD-by-mail service, renaming it to "Qwikster," and including the ability to rent video games, as indicated by the Xbox controller on the table above. I'm not sure if this is a snap decision in the wake of their losing up to a million customers last quarter, but certainly someone could've spent more time photoshopping that thing together. (Check the shadows on the popcorn bowl and the controller, for instance.)
According to Reed Hastings' post over on the official Netflix blog, the two websites, qwikster.com and netflix.com, will not be integrated; you'll now have to maintain separate queues on both websites, one for your DVDs and one for your streaming titles. If you already pay for both DVDs and streaming, though, the pricing will stay the same for you (and presumably your account will port over to Qwikstar.com). Says Hastings of the drawbacks:
A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated. So if you subscribe to both services, and if you need to change your credit card or email address, you would need to do it in two places. Similarly, if you rate or review a movie on Qwikster, it doesn’t show up on Netflix, and vice-versa.
Also of note is that the game option for the Qwikster service will be at added cost, as is the case for Blu-Ray rentals.
So, two websites, two companies, two CEOs, two brands. That's a pretty damn bold change that Netflix is making, but perhaps it'll be better for them in the long run. It's obvious enough that they see streaming as their future (why do you think they're keeping the Netflix name to brand it with), but still think they can wring some dollars from the delivery of physical media over the next few years. It's not far-fetched to assume that streaming will overtake all other forms of home entertainment delivery in the next few years, so Hastings seems to be doubling down on that bet, eliminating DVDs from "Netflix" entirely. Also of note is Hastings' statement that they're not going to raise their prices:
There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). Members who subscribe to both services will have two entries on their credit card statements, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix. The total will be the same as the current charges.
What do you think about all this? Is it just a naming change? Will this make you more likely to retain your DVD service, or less likely? Here's a quickly-shot and barely-edited Hastings video on the matter (note the flub that wasn't edited out at 1:05 or so):